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Law School Applications See Increase

Law school applications have been on the rise compared to a year ago. According to the Law School Admission Council, the number of applications rose to 93,932, up 15% compared to the same time last year.

“I think it’s very promising. We were pleased to see the increase in people taking the LSAT has now translated into an increase in people applying to school,” Kellye Testy, president and CEO of the LSAC, tells Law.com. “Our member schools are certainly happy to see it: They had many years of it going down or staying flat, so they are pleased to see the renewed interest.”

Angela Morris, a freelance reporter at Law.com, reports that this September experienced a 10.7% increase in LSAT takers compared to last September. The growth was even more pronounced in June, which saw a 19.8% boost in test takers compared to the previous June, based on LSAC data.

This stands in stark contrast to the past decade. Morris reports that applications have been plummeting. 2016 alone saw a 33% decrease in the number of applications compared to 2007.

Factors Driving Increase

Testy tells Law.com that the increase in applicant numbers may be due to the current political climate in the U.S., which has motivated students to consider law as a career. Historically speaking, she says, it’s normal to see an increase in applicants due to the typical cycle.

“We had predicted we were at the bottom, and we would tick up. We are seeing that, and I’m going to hope it will continue to move that direction,” she tells Law.com.

Jeff Thomas is executive director of prelaw programs at Kaplan Test Prep. According to Thomas, it’s still too early to tell whether or not applications will level out into the new year. One factor that may be driving increased applicants, Thomas says, is that LSAT administration came one week early this fall. The early administration of the exam means applicants could turn in applications almost a week earlier as well, which could illustrate an “artificial increase.”

He tells Law.com that a steady increase would mean more competition among applicants.
“Just because applications go up doesn’t mean law schools will increase the size of their classes. In fact, I suspect it will not be the case,” Thomas says.

Sources: Law.com, Law School Admissions Council